IndyRef 2: Might We Really Be Better Together?

Déjà vu, right? Just two years after Scotland voted to remain in the UK, here we sit with the prospect of another referendum. Recently the SNP released a draft bill showing the possibility for a second referendum for Scottish Independence – because this is exactly what we need, just a little bit more madness in a country seeming to implode each day. Of course, though, this was to be expected. The SNP made their point very clear throughout the campaign for the EU referendum; that if it did go the way no one expected, Scotland would revert to its independence mayhem. I mean, even someone who is bad at maths like myself can see that 62% is a significantly high number in a referendum, so Scotland should be slightly annoyed if they are dragged kicking and screaming out of such an idyllic thing like the EU is.

Anyway, I digress. The Scottish Independence Bill is currently in the earliest of early stages, right now going through public consultation. Nothing immediate is going to happen, with this stage lasting through till around the 11th of January. If we look at some of the details it does seem very reminiscent of the original referendum, and it does seem like if this goes through the EU will be the key fighting point for both sides. It is currently predicted to use the exact same question, 16 and 17 year olds will get another chance to vote, and there would be no need for a minimum turnout, just a flat-out majority of those who voted. The key elements are all nearly identical. So, the question is, is the result going to be any different?

Currently, predictions show that there have been minimal changes in the numbers even after the result of the EU referendum, with those pro-independence still failing to substantially increase support; but it is a lot closer than it was at the beginning of the first campaign. Back in 2012 only around 35% of Scots supported independence, so there was a marked increase by the time the referendum actually arrived. Could this possibly occur again? It is clear that the EU is a massive issue for numerous people. It does seem that if we have another full campaign, with the same level of involvement, the Yes voters could get that same increase, and find themselves with a majority. So, Scotland could be clinging to the EU after all, which draws another issue – will they even want us?

There was a lot of contentious debate at the time of the first referendum that Scotland would inherit a place in the EU from the UK if they did leave. Chances are, we would have to apply by ourselves and go through a ton of changes just for them to accept us back into the club; even then, they don’t seem very willing to. If we do have a second referendum this is bound to be the key issue debated, if not the single key issue. So, despite us leaving it, I feel the EU is going to continue becoming a much bigger topic in upcoming years, especially within Scotland.

The final point to consider is that of the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK. The United Kingdom – something I feel we have not actually been for the past few years. In fact, the only time I see us being united is during Eurovision, where we all fall under the same united delusion that we may do alright this time around. Is this the end of the United Kingdom no matter what? With the announcement of the bill, the English have not taken it well, with some even creating a petition that if Scotland gets to vote, so do they. I think people hold negative opinions about the United Kingdom because they have been forced to look at the big issues, and can’t seem to remember the benefits it gives us. Breaking from the United Kingdom to stay with the EU seems like a weird deal in my opinion – at least here we are a larger part of the voter base, making up around 9% of the population. Though this may not seem a lot, compared to in the EU we hold a lot of representation. I think the attractions we get will go unnoticed once we go independent, as the Scottish government is made to make the decisions they reprimanded Westminster for doing. It seems people don’t honestly realise the full benefit of the UK, and may regret the decision once they are done.

This is a bond which has lasted far longer than the EU has even been in existence, and likely if we stick with it, the bond will stay indefinitely. Having a close tie to such a large, powerful country will make sense. Our views are heard because we make up 9% of one of the most politically and influentially dominant countries in the world. If we break off, England won’t suffer the same loss we will. This is a massive decision, and one that I think is being thought, and carried out, too rashly. Although the idea of another referendum is merely a speculative plan in its infancy, it could be another decision that changes our lives. All I know is that everyone should keep an eye on where it is going, because you don’t want to miss it when it blows up, or whimpers out.

Text by Ryan Neilson 

Illustration by Lara Delmage

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